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ICC World T-20 2007: When Bowl-Out Drew Line Between India-Pakistan

India and Pakistan decided their winner in the T-20 World Cup 2007 by a bowl-out.

Quite hard some of the rules are in the game of Cricket that it may take a handful number of times for a new fan to understand; not like Football or Hockey where you can enjoy the game even after not having 100% information. The International Cricket Council (ICC) had grown up one new regulation during the 2007 WT-20 to decide the winner of a drawn game in the mode of bowl-out.

The arch-rivals India up against Pakistan:

Kingsmead in Durban was set to witness one of the hard fighting arch-rival pairs taking part on each other in their debut T-20 face-off. Both teams, quite surprisingly after missing out in their first four World-Cups, came close in every ICC event since then, with IND making it a habit of beating the neighbors.

They were up against each other again in the 2007 World T-20 clash in a group that included Scotland too. It was never gonna be tough for both the sides to overcome the challenge as Pakistan made a cake-walk of beating the opponents by reducing them to a very low score after being lashing on their bowlers to post 171/9 whereas on the other hand, the India-Scotland game was washed out without a single ball being bowled.

What it matters to play the game:

September 14 arrived and Kingsmead crowd was eagerly waiting to taste an India-Pakistan rivalry. They might had heard about the Ashes of how tough it becomes for the players and fans with basketful emotions go with the flow in the pressurized time; well, they were, I guess, yet to know what the two Asian neighbors had to face.

Little does it matter whether you were crowned as champions, don’t lose to Pakistan anyway was what the head of families had to say to the Indian players and vice-versa for the opponents. Even the bus-driver or shop-keeper used to speak the same words. The Indian fans 4-years back during the 2003 World Cup was so happy because their side had got the better of the rivals, it hardly mattered to them that their lads had a humiliated loss in the finals.

Magician Asif ran through Indian top-order:

Nonetheless, Shoaib Malik, after winning the toss, elected to bowl which could be a result of not knowing the game that much in those days. The first two deliveries from Mohammad Asif looked to make life difficult for Gautam Gambhir and the result was seen straightaway in the next ball. The left-hander charged down the track with a probable aim of hitting over the bowlers hard but found Asif’s palm who held it after couple of attempts. 

The first boundary of the game came from Sehwag’s bat when he flicked Umar Gul in style. It looked India had got a breather but alas!!!; Asif steamed in with his second over, bowls a length ball that hits the Delhi boy’s inside edge and straight to the furniture. Uthappa did try to release the pressure but it seemed like Pakistan would run through the line-up.

In his 3rd over, Asif bowled a length ball that moved away, Yuvraj in a hope to smack it over mid-on might get a bit earlier on the shot and the ball gently stopped in Malik’s hand. A young Dinesh Karthik did charge on to hit boundary but got out to the same bowler in an ugly fashion where the ball disturbed the timber after getting touched with Karthik’s elbow.

Indians were pushed back at 36-4 in 7-overs of which Mohammad Asif had an extra-ordinary figure of 4-0-18-4.

India somehow managed 141/9:

Well, the pressure was expected to be off after the end the fiery spell but Tanvir’s awkward action was making it tough for the Indian captain. Then came the 10th over, two sixes in different regions against Yasir Arafat took Uthappa to a hard fought 50. But he failed to carry on, as he edged the left hander to Kamran Akmal, who stunned everyone by taking the simplest catch.

Irfan Pathan after smashing Afridi for two sixes, got done by a quicker delivery that flashed on the leg-stump. Agarkar hit two boundaries back-to-back as the blue brigade could reach to 141/9. 14-yrs, it was a decent total if not a winning one. 

Pakistan started really well:

There was couple of passing showers that didn’t damage the fun at all. Imran Nazir and Salman Butt made their way as the former hit RP Singh for a four over the covers but saw his stumped being broken by the left-hander. Kamran Akmal walked up and began the counter-attack as he smacked the left-hander for a four and six in the same over. At one point, they needed around 100-runs in 13-overs with 9-wickets in hand.

When Dhoni recalled Agarkar, he enjoyed the result right away as Butt in trying to pull him was undone by the bounce and found himself in the gloves of the Indian captain.

Well, Pakistan was batting and how could the fans miss an error of judgement in their running; Younis Khan playing one at point stepped couple of feet forward and Akmal was almost on the half pitch when Yuvraj hit the non-strikers ends the frame was too short to fit him in the picture.

Four balls later, Younis too went to the dressing room after dragging one to the stumps. The asking rate was getting higher. Misbah and Malik stitched a good small partnership as runs are coming from both the ends. 55 off 30 was required as the last ball of the 15th over found Harbhajan at covers making an end to Malik’s time.

An well-known chasing story in Pakistan:

Afridi was still there but for not too long it seemed. Agarkar made him to hit a top edge and the ball passed the fielder for a result he would be happy of anyway. 42 off 18 to score when Harbhajan got Afridi with a fast delivery targeting his ankle in the hands of Karthik; it was almost over for Pakistan but the format was bringing new heart-breaks.

Pakistan roared back as Misbah first lofted the off-spinner for a six and then for a four over mid-wicket. Arafat in his own style was pulling successfully and suddenly they were required around 12 in the last over. The Indian captain had two options to go; Agarkar was left for his last over (3-0-18-1) and then there was Sreesanth (3-0-18-0). The skipper went for the latter, the quick pace. It appeared to be a wrong choice as Misbah first hit one over the keeper’s head and then ran two before smashing over the mid-off to bring his 50. Probably shutting all the eyebrows made around his selection.

1 to get, 2 to bowl!! Pakistan’s game to lose!!!

A short ball was tried hard to pull by Misbah; he failed. 1 from 1!!

India-Pakistan battle at its best. Fielders regrouped, as the leader decided to keep the close in fields and it proved right as Misbah failed for two consecutive times and it ended in tie. The Durban fans went crazy as were all the Indians who spent their night being awake. The bowl-out rule got activated. Six bowlers were to bowl one ball each. It wasn’t that easy as it looked for a moment.

“We did practice bowl-outs; in fact, our net session started with bowl-outs.” Expressed Uthappa in an interview to Cricket County.

Here we go.

The maiden bowl-out in Cricket:

Sehwag, cap on, took couple of steps and with a smile bowl a half-tracker that hit the stumps. Now, it’s Arafat, running in with a short run-up and missed the off stump by miles. Even it pitched well behind the stumps. IND- 1, PAK- 0.

On came Harbhajan, the ball pitched on length, hit the top of middle, whereas Gul, like Arafat, missed it too by bowling a test match line. 

PAK- 0, IND- 2.

When Uthappa got the ball in hand, I have no idea what the world was thinking or expecting. He bowled straight and hit the bail as Dhoni had to dive to save his eyes. It appeared to be a tip to the wickets by Robin. Pakistan on the other hand, went with their lone spinner, Afridi, who bowled one down leg, perhaps hoping it to be “The ball of the Century”, failed to get the reward. IND- 3, PAK- 0.

The celebrations started as not only they had won their debut T-20 against Arch-rivals but that too in a bowl out fashion. The fans got full excitement of their money.

Well, as a reader if you had got enough o picturing an IND-PAK game, then wait for one week, as these two sides would meet each other in an epic clash. Something special on the radar.

Brief Scores: –

India: 141/9 (20) (Robin Uthappa- 50, Mohammad Asif- 4-18) tied with Pakistan: 141/7 (20) (Misbah-ul-haq- 53, Irfan Pathan- 2-20)

Tie Broken in Bowl Out: IND- 3, Pakistan- 0

Man of the Match- Mohammad Asif.  

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